Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, September 5, 2019
Many conservatives take pride in their contempt for “racism.” This week, a few prominent ones demanded that their movement intensify the purge of this menace. They want to define conservatism as “anti-racism.”
In a Wednesday column, Washington Examiner commentary editor Tim Carney asks: “Why the hell did racists seek homes in conservative and liberal institutions, and why the hell were young conservatives easily won over to racist views?”
He adds that “conservatives need to do a better job convincing the racists that it’s a lie [to think conservatives are ‘just a bunch of racists’].”
Mr. Carney argues that this will serve “two good ends: First, it will make it clear to diehard racists that they’re not welcome over here. Second, it will protect impressionable young conservatives from being wooed by them.”
Here’s his plan:
What’s needed is not mere ‘outreach’ to black, Hispanic, or Jewish voters. Conservatives ought to make elevation of African Americans, immigrants, and religious minorities so central to conservatism that all dedicated racists will be thoroughly repelled. If we can’t make them stop calling themselves the “Alt-Right,” because they won’t want to be associated with us, we can at least disgust them with such a focus.
Mr. Carney repeats leftist arguments that blacks are poor and likely to be in jail because of racism. He calls “racial inequality” “one of the greatest evils in the United States.”
He repeats clichés about white privilege: “Imagine if you could set the difficulty level for your life. The data all suggest that being an immigrant or an African American means setting a much higher difficulty level than being a white guy.”
He urges conservatives to accept that “all humans are created equal (the official teaching of the U.S. founders and all Abrahamic religions), and second, that blacks and Hispanics have far worse outcomes in the U.S.”
The Founders would laugh at this. They were race realists. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and also said it was blacks’ “nature” not their “condition” that produced the “distinction” between the races.
Mr. Carney’s conclusion is a tour de force of groveling:
Conservatives ought to make it a priority to fight for the fundamental dignity and equality of racial minorities who have been denied that dignity and equality. It will require overcoming decades of injustice, and so won’t happen quickly. We won’t disabuse the Left of their self-satisfied smears and conceits, but that’s not the point. Conservatives will be able to take solace in the fact that we’re fighting the good fight and pissing off the racists.
In other words, conservatives should try to “piss off the racists” rather than advance the interests of ordinary Americans. Conservatives should adopt the Left’s racial dictates and alienate whites. No normal white American will be attracted to any of this. It’s not a political strategy; it’s therapeutic balm for careerists. By this standard, CPAC’s keynote speaker next year should be Al Sharpton.
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat joins the fight but in a more nuanced way. First, he agrees that “the American right in the Trump era has a racism problem.” He blames “a Republican president who race-baits, a media ecosystem whose guardrails have collapsed, the lure of far-right ideas after various center-right failures, and the influence of toxic forms of internet community on impressionable minds.”
Mr. Douthat also wants to purge racists, but tries to defend certain ideas he thinks are not “white nationalist.” These include the recognition of “limiting principles on liberal universalism, and a justifiable role for particularity — ethnic, cultural, religious — in many political arrangements.” He defends calls to increase America’s birth rate. He also laments the establishment’s “ideological conformity.”
“[I]t does liberals and the left no favors, now or for a post-Trump future, to imagine that accusations of white nationalism can somehow quarantine conservative ideas that are both not actually racist and also, in many cases, true,” he says. Mr. Douthat thinks only conservatives can deal with their “racists” problem.
Both columns highlight the conservative movement’s identity crisis. Mr. Carney believes conservatives should submit fully to the Left’s rules on race. Mr. Douthat thinks conservatives should purge racists but also insist that some of their ideas aren’t racist. Both believe a multi-racial conservative movement is possible. Mr. Carney thinks it will come from checking white privilege and fighting systemic racism. Mr. Douthat proposes a racially-sensitive “pan-ethnic” populism.
None of this is new. For decades, conservatives have concocted futile strategies to win over non-whites. Jack Kemp wanted economic opportunity zones. George W. Bush’s team preached “compassionate conservatism.” Those ideas didn’t work; these new ones won’t work either.
Most white Americans are Republicans. Most conservatives are white. This makes Republicans and conservatives deeply uncomfortable. They refuse to fight for white interests. Yet if the GOP and the “conservative movement” want to survive, they must advance white interests. They have no other constituency. They can grovel before the Left all they want, but most non-whites will never join them.